The railroad life brings me to more random places than I could ever have imagined. The latest is back north of the wall in the land of Canada, Calgary. Calgary the home of the Calgary Flames, the Calgary Flames, and former host of the 1988 Olympic Games. This was the first city in Canada to host the Olympic games in fact, paving the way for Montreal and Vancouver down the road. Living in Chicago has really ruined my perspective of comparison as every city seems exceptionally small to me. I have learned that Calgary is currently the 3rd largest city in Canada and the 20th largest city in North America coming in around the population of Dallas. That is extremely surprising to me as the entire city seemed extremely small compared to my visits to Dallas. The city overall reminded me of Minneapolis. It has a love for winter sports, it has an entire system of connected walkways, it has a light rail system straight through downtown, and it also seems to work in greenspace and nature very well within a short distance of downtown. These are all things that I saw in Minneapolis that I also saw in Calgary. The one thing that is very unique to Calgary is the Calgary tower. The former tallest building in Calgary is still operating as an observation deck with an amazing view of downtown and the Canadian Rockies.
The views were amazing and worth the cost of admission up the tower. Again my trips ruin some part of things like this. The Calgary tower is 627ft tall. I’ve been on the observation decks of the Sears Tower 1,450ft and Burj Kalifa 2,717ft. So the novilty of just being really high in the air is lost on me, but I still really enjoy the novelty of being able to just stare out at a city and how it works. Its like real life sim city where you can watch the trains, cars, and planes go by and about their daily life.
As I continued my walk I started to notice a bit of the leftovers from the Olympic games back in 1988. The Olympic Park in the downtown area is some great greenspace in the middle of the buildings. It seemed like such an odd decision to have water features to celebrate the Olympic Games of a Winter Olympiad. Alas is it still a nice feature in the downtown area. It is nothing compared to the massive park in downtown Atlanta, but it fits the city. Comparing it to the Olympics in Athens, Bejing, and Rio that have left massive debt and abandoned arenas, it is good to see these facilities still being used. In fact it seemed like all the facilities used for the Olympics are currently being used in and around the city. The NHL arena is still in use, the downhill hills are part of a massive winter sports complex and the improvements to the city have blended in and left their legacy. Maybe it was a different time, or a different thought process, but I think this is what the Olympics should be for a city. A rally point, a time to improve parts of the city, and eventually just fade into the background like these rings left around the railing in Olympic Park.
The last part of the city I checked out was Eau Claire and Prince Island Park. Fun fact I learned is that Eau Claire is in fact named after the same town in Wisconsin. The area itself is just stunning and has access to the wonderful Prince Island Park. It was a great place to walk along the Bow River. It reminded me a lot of my time in Minneapolis as well. Overall I enjoyed my visit here to Calgary. I will gladly share the good experiences that I had in the city with all the random people I meet.